Monday, February 13, 2006

Hwy 217 improvements: all politics is local

TJ and I have talked a lot about the importance of LO being about all of Oregon..and not just the Portland area and points west of the Cascades. But honestly this irritates the crap out of me:

Washington County politicians compromised Thursday and backed away from their request that Oregon 217 be placed on a list of the state's most important highway projects.

The decision could make it difficult for a $500 million widening project to win funding. It also could make it more likely that new lanes would be toll lanes or that the project takes decades to complete.

Hwy 217 is the only connection between Interstate 5 and Hwy 26. There is no other way for drivers to get from Tualatin and points south to Beaverton and points west (without shuffling through a maze of back roads). 217 is a minor, 4 lane hwy that was never meant to accomodate a hefty amount of traffic.

I can't understand why expanding it is being considered as a solution. The cost to add lanes is in the millions of dollars and it can only temporary ease the congestion. Beaverton and Hillsboro are growing like crazy. An additional freeway is needed from Tualatin to Hillsboro.

Yes it will cost a lot of money. Yes it will be a pain in the ass to buy the necessary land and make the necessary legal arrangements to do the project. But for crying out loud, why waste millions on a band aid when you can invest in a new road project that will actually make sense in the long term?